Focusing Tip #615 – “I feel difficult emotions, but not a felt sense…”

Focusing Tip #615 – “I feel difficult emotions, but not a felt sense…”
June 27, 2018 Ann Weiser Cornell
Childhood trauma

Focusing Tip #615 – “I feel difficult emotions, but not a felt sense…”

What can you do when an old childhood-trauma-based issue has been triggered? Read on…

Paul writes:

Focusing is challenging for me. It seems that when I try to focus about something, especially a childhood trauma-based issue that has been triggered, all I find is the intense hard or tight-like-steel feeling, or the obtuse-not-quite- really-there-but-very-frightened feeling. (I dissociate sometimes.)

I am often aware of difficult emotions happening in my body when I am triggered. But it is hard for me to get the felt sense, which I think is not the same as those triggered emotions.


Dear Paul:

I can understand you want to feel the felt sense – because you have learned that when you can allow a felt sense to come, then you are on the way to change.

But those reactive emotions from parts of us have to come first, otherwise we will never be able to find the quiet, wise felt sense underneath.

What you describe (“the intense hard or tight-like-steel feeling” and “the obtuse-not-quite-really-there-but-very-frightened feeling”) are parts of you that need for you to be present with them.

I know that is not easy. But it’s so worth doing! Because that is how they can change.

What people call “being triggered” is what I would call being merged with or identified with parts. So probably at first you are merged with those parts OR you are merged with parts that are trying to control or get rid of those parts… which in a way is the same thing.

Change becomes possible, as you know, when you can be Self-in-Presence… when you can be the one who can turn toward the parts that are there so strongly and intensely in your body. When you can say to them, “Yes, I know you are there, and I am here with you.”

If that is difficult… and it sounds like it is… then it can help a lot to acknowledge that it is difficult. Just acknowledging that something is difficult is a remarkable step toward more lightness and ease!


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